Jakarta. My birthplace, my hometown, my restless resplendent city brimming over with insomniac energy, a thrumming infectious liveliness I carry in my veins. Miniscule we are in the monolithic scheme of things, my suburban neighborhood a microcosmic testament to the culture I grew up in.
Here, I breathe, sleep, ache, fear, love, and hate. You’ll find that this island is a substantial amalgamation of existence. You’ll find that here we don’t live on the fringe of anything, don’t bow to anything beneath what we can produce. We’re a gruelling metropolis hurtling at full steam, lest we derail and deviate from what we set out to achieve at least we know we weren’t hiding behind flimsy cellophane walls that would crack apart at the first knock.
We’re a sticky, convoluted mixing pot of tradition and modernization. Over our river arches our expressways and pedestrian bridges, along its banks are harsh skyscrapers with their sweeping angles only mellowed by our fairytale gardens.
Our subway system soars above the heads of passersby and rumbles beneath the brushed pavements, and somehow we’ve managed to cram more shopping malls onto this tiny landmass than we have members of parliament. But this is my home, the gritty gentle civilization I thrived in to my best.
But this is also my paradox, the conflicting reality I struggle to reconcile with my ideals. Here, I witness and participate in the daily dramas of humanity, the triumphs and tragedies that shape our collective story. Here, I see the rich and poor coexist in uneasy proximity, the former flaunting their wealth and power while the latter scrape by on meager means. Here, I observe the injustice that plague our society, the greed and violence that erode our morals. Here, I feel the frustration and despair that cloud our vision, the apathy and cynicism that hinder our progress.
But this is also my hope, the resilient spirit I cling to in times of hardship. This is my sanctuary I yearn to share with my loved ones, long to build an everlasting place of warmth and solace. This is where I always envisioned spending my entire lifetime in.
Here, I admire and emulate the creativity and innovation that flourish in our culture, the ingenuity and resourcefulness that solve our problems. Here, I appreciate and celebrate the diversity and harmony that enrich our identity, the tolerance and respect that foster our unity.
Jakarta. A city of contrasts and contradictions. A city that reflects who I am, who I was, who I want to be. A city that inspires me to write these words, to express these thoughts, to feel these emotions. A city that I love with all its complexity, with all its simplicity, with all its entirety.